Group Visits

Visitors in the cafe at Hardys Cottage

We're delighted you've booked, or are thinking about booking a group visit to Hardy's Cottage. Here's all the pre-visit information you need to ensure you have a fantastic time here.

Help us help you

Due to the small size of Hardy's Cottage, we ask that all groups of more than 8 provide us with advance notice, so that we can make sure we can cater for your group. To book a group visit, please ring 01305 262366 or email us.

In order to ensure that your visit is as enjoyable as possible, it would be helpful if you could answer the following questions:

  • The planned time of your arrival and approximately how long you hope to stay at the cottage (we recommend an hour and half for groups of up to 16, including the walk from your drop-off point.) Please ring us to discuss groups over 16.
  • If you’d like us to provide a short talk to your group (charges apply, see below), please suggest what you would like the talk to focus on, for example, is your group studying a particular Hardy novel, sequence of poems or specific Hardy themes? Is your group interested in a particular aspect such as Hardy's early life or the cottage itself?

For your information

Cost

For groups of under 15:
Standard Adult £7.70
Standard Child £3.90

For groups of 15 and over:
Group Adult £5.90
Group Child £3.00

National Trust members are free. This does not affect other group members’ group rate.

Special talks for a group can be arranged in advance; the cost for this is £20.00 for a 20-minute talk (minimum of 10 people), and it is subject to staff and volunteer availability.

We accept payment on the day, by cash or card.

Practicalities

Please report to the Visitor Centre on arrival.

The cottage is small, for safety reasons we can only permit eight people upstairs at a time. If your group is larger than this, please be aware that it will be divided up into smaller units, but there is plenty to see both inside and outside the cottage. Please dress for the weather and wear suitable footwear.
During the busier Spring/Summer months, groups will be issued with timed tickets and split into groups of 8 to view the cottage at 10 minute intervals.

During your visit the cottage is still open to the general public, who will also be going round the cottage at the same time as your group. 

Facilities

Although there is no toilet at the cottage, you will pass our Visitor Centre as you come up the bridlepath, which has toilets and a café. Please note that the café and toilets close at 4pm, with last orders at 3.45pm.

The café (not National Trust) has limited seating, and so we request that groups give advance notice. If you wish to book tables for lunches or teas and coffees, please contact Sarah Key by email. During the Winter, or on quiet days, the cafe occasionally closes early.

Parking

We have limited parking. Please try to be economical with travel by car sharing or hiring a minibus. 

The car park is owned and managed by Dorset County Council. Parking is free for National Trust members on display of a valid car park sticker. Charges for non-members are £1 for up to 2 hours and £3 for over 2 hours.

Our car park is unsuitable for coaches, and so they are required to drop off on Cuckoo Lane and find parking elsewhere.* Please note that the drop off point is a 10-15 minute walk from the cottage, up an unsurfaced bridlepath.

*Local Coach Parking/Drop off points

  • Dorchester Top o’ Town Car Park. Prices can be found here
  • A35 E-bound layby between Dorchester and Puddletown
  • Hampton Farm Business park, Higher Bockhampton - Mike Jones is happy to provide parking for coaches for £20 for up to three hours. Please call to book in advance on 07798500120.